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Before we delve into the different types of sports betting markets and how they work, it’s important to understand what a sports betting market is.
A sports betting market is a particular category of bet offered on a particular event. Commonly, bookmakers will provide numerous betting markets for any given event, giving you a variety of options as to where to place your wagers.
Here we take a look at the main betting markets and provide some examples of how they work in practice.
Win Bet / Moneyline
The most common of all sports bets: simply choosing which team or player will win a specific match or event. The Win Bet – or Moneyline in the United States – lets you decide on one outcome only: the winner.
The only time a second option is added in a sport (i.e., soccer, rugby, or boxing) is where a draw is a possible. This won’t apply to any American sports – basketball, baseball, American football, hockey – or tennis, racing, and golf.
The lower the number offered on that team or player to win, the shorter their odds become, which means you will get less in return. This is offset by the fact that team or player is the favorite to win and should, theoretically, have a greater chance of success.
Example 1: Tennis
Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic – 2019 Italian Open final. Nadal was priced @1.57 to win the match, Djokovic is priced @2.54 to win the match. There can only be one outcome in a tennis match as draws do not exist. By these odds, Nadal is the favorite to win: $10 placed on Nadal will return $15.70; $10 placed on Djokovic will return $25.40. As it transpired, Nadal lived up to those shorter odds by beating Djokovic.
Example 2: Football
Liverpool vs Chelsea – Premier League. Liverpool to win this game were priced @1.67, Chelsea were the underdogs @5.50, while the draw was priced @4.20. As you can see, there is now a second option for the outcome – either a win or a tie. Liverpool would win 2-0 and prove the bookies right in making them odds-on favorites for this game.
A sports betting market used in many sports around the world, but is particularly popular in football. This is when you bet on the goal difference between two teams in a given match.
Handicap betting is a way of leveling the playing field and providing punters more attractive odds on a match when there is an overwhelming. If a team is placed at -1.5 goals, they must beat their opponent by two clear goals.
Example: Manchester City v Watford – FA Cup final. Manchester City -2.5 goals was priced @2.70. City won 6-0 so this handicap bet would have safely come home.
Another popular sport betting market that does not rely on the result of a match or event, just on whether a certain amount of goals or points are scored. Totals – also known as Over-Unders – can be applied whether it is two evenly-matched teams when there is a clear favorite and everything in between.
Example: Liverpool vs Barcelona – Champions League semi-final. Odds on Over 2.5 goals was priced @1.57. After Liverpool won 4-0, that bet was a winner.
Short for proposition bets, this sports betting market usually has many options to wager on. Again, a very popular market for football punters. These include first/last/anytime goalscorers, will there be a red card/penalty, time of first yellow card, or the first player to be booked, plus many more.
Specials can vary depending on the match, players and event, but can be a fun addition to your betting slip.
As the name gives away, this focuses on bets with a more long-term outcome. While the other sports betting markets above pertain to a single event, futures or outrights will be things like betting on next season’s Premier League champions, or whether Tiger Woods will win a major in 2020.
An accumulator is when you group two or more single bets together to create longer odds and place one wager down on each individual bet winning. This is a great way to increase odds if you group together a lot of heavy favorites that are expected to win.
Most bookmakers will allow a mix of bets to be grouped in an accumulator, so you could have a Win Bet in a tennis match, a handicap bet in a football match, and an Over-Under bet in a basketball game together.